Ali “Ollie” Woodson
By Reve’ Gipson
Sentinel Contributing Writer
Ollie Woodson died last Sunday after a battle with cancer (Leukemia) in California. Â Born Ollie Creggett on September 12, 1951 in Detroit, Michigan, he was the lead singer for The Temptations from 1984 to 1986 and again 1988 to 1996. Â He also co-wrote the groups hit single “Treat Her Like a Lady.” Â He left the group in 1996 and began performing as a solo artist. Â He formed a group called Ollie Woodson and the Emperors of Soul. Â In 2002 he performed with the Temptations in Japan when one of the members was unable to go because of visa issues.
In the 70’s Ali performed with the Drifters and later replaced Teddy Pendergrass in the Blue Notes. Pendergrass was talented actor, (he recently appeared in the play, “The Clean Up Woman”), an Entertainer who played keyboards, bass and drums. Â He would regularly return to Detroit and perform with a band at Arturo’s Jazz Theater and Restaurant in Southfield, Michigan and with Dennis Edwards’ Temptation Revue at the Detroit International Jazz Festival. Â This year he appeared at a CD preview party for Aretha Franklin at the Detroit Fish Market.
It’s so very hard to say good-bye to a real friend. Â I have so very many wonderful memories of Ali Woodson. Â I can remember like it was yesterday, when he became a Temptation. Â Comedian Renaldo Rey brought him to meet our mother, Gertrude Gipson who was the Entertainment Editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspaper, and he fell in love with her.
She would constantly write about him and spell his name correctly. Â When our mother passed away several years ago, Ali was the first person at the mortuary. Â When he heard I was getting married, it was Ali who called to tell me, invited or not, that he and his wife would be there. Â He was unable to make it because he wasn’t feeling well. Â I remember when he met his wife Juanita, and I remember when their first child was born. Â Ollie was such a talented and lovely person. Â Two of my favorite songs by him will always be “Treat Her Like A Lady” and “I’m So Glad There Is You.”
Our mother had a celebrity night every Monday night at a nightclub on Crenshaw called the Pied Piper. Â Ali would come by whenever he was in town and rock the house. Â On a Monday you may see- Frankie Beverly and Maze, Marvin Gaye, Natalie Cole, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, George Benson, Peabo Bryson and Ray Charles, to name a few. It was the place to be on a Monday night in L.A. Â Ali was a vocalist that other vocalist liked and respected. Â He was such a giving person. Â I’m so blessed to have known him, and I thank God that he was a part of my life. Â Our sincere condolences go to his wife Juanita, Ollie, Jr., Alia and his entire family.
Ali’s funeral will be on Saturday at 11am at The City of Refuge~14527 S. San Pedro St. LA. Â He was an active member of the church. Â Bishop Noel Jones, senior pastor of The City of Refuge, would call on him at least three times a month to sing; and during those times, Ali would often share his testimony about his battle with cancer with the church. Â His favorites to sing were “Question Is” by the Winans and “I’m Not Alone” a song he wrote.